Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: Fact_Checker Date: Jul 15, 2009 4:35am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Video-Cellar, I need a question answered (kinescopes, delayed broadcasts by affiliates)

I believe that the "Peter Pan" decision IS the most relevant. The court decision specifically addresses whether the law as it was prior to the 1976 Act would be applied. Quoting specific wording from the court decision (which in turn in quoted at

"The common law definition of publication as it existed prior to January 1978 will be applied to determine whether or when NBC published 'Peter Pan.'" And: "the 1976 Act's standard does not apply to asserted publications occurring before the effective date of the new Act, even though the cause of action accrued after the date."

Yes, this decision could be overturned by a higher court. As it is, there is a pattern in the law of granting copyright holders the rights they knew they were getting -- and obligations they knew they were undertaking -- when the copyrights began, plus any new privileges granted afterward. There isn't a pattern of taking away rights.

The consolation for public-domain firms is that penalties in these cases have been light. (See the summaries on the page linked above.) Whether that will still be the case now that there are stiff penalties for infringement without profit (let alone higher penalties when there is profit), who can say?